Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

White now firmly in the fast lane

The year 2012 finally saw classic black being replaced at the top of the most popular car colour charts by white, a colour which has stormed up the European rankings in recent years. Across Europe, 24 per cent of new car buyers now opt for a white model.

This is just one of the results of the latest automotive colour trend report published by Standox. Each year the paint manufacturer analyses car colour trends and developments. Having topped the ranking for many years in Europe, black has lost two percentage points and dropped to second place making this the first time in five years that black hasn’t featured at the top of the chart. While grey and silver hang on to third and fourth place respectively, these colours are no longer as popular as they were across Europe.

“This development has been apparent for quite a while. Ever since white smartphones and computers started to acquire a cult following, white has symbolised technological progress, ecological sustainability and minimalist aesthetics. Consequently this colour now also enjoys strong demand in the vehicle market. Fifteen years ago, by contrast, white cars were considered virtually unmarketable. Today, white is once again the number one in the entire vehicle market – around the globe and across all segments,” says Armin Sauer, Colour Coordinator Standox Germany. Thanks to the variety of different shades of white as well as the availability of special mother-of-pearl triple coat finishes, white has also become the colour of choice in the executive car and SUV segments.

As buyers continue to show preference for neutrals (black, white, silver, grey), chromatic colours such as red, blue and green are losing popularity, with only blue featuring in the European top five. Brown and beige are now also emerging as competitors for the places held by established favourites like silver and grey. These natural shades offer modern alternatives and their popularity has increased by one per cent in the European market. Green, yellow and all other colours can be found further down the chart. Sauer explains, “subdued colours are best at expressing a car’s inherent quality and ensure a high resale value, which is particularly important in these economically turbulent times. There has also been a renewed trend towards understatement. Nevertheless, what we see on our streets is anything but dull and monochrome. Numerous special effects and iridescent finishes mean that today’s neutrals can turn heads as well. Thanks to new technologies and innovative pigments, we will certainly see more unusual and offbeat colours in the future, which will pose quite a challenge to refinishers.”

Standox colour experts based in Wuppertal, Germany, constantly monitor not only the new colours created by the automotive industry but also a range of other key colour trend indicators in other areas including fashion, cosmetics and consumer goods. This approach ensures Standox can respond swiftly to new trends offering refinishers the most up to date colours and the corresponding repair processes at all times.